Exercise 6: HIGHLIGHT CLIPPING
Before even starting to click, I had to enable highlight-clipping warning “on” by going to the display menu. I also wanted to shoot with the lowest ISO and keep the noise to a minimum. First I thought of taking outdoor shot, but soon I realized, it was very difficult to rely on the sky light. It was cloudy, and the light was constantly changing. I also decided to go with the manual setting, as I wanted maximum control over my shots. I set the aperture and decided to change the shutter speed. This way I avoided varying DOF. I also decide to use tripod so that the frame and the composition stays constant in all the five shots.
As instructed in the manual I have taken 5 shots
- Image with just a little clipping
- Image with increased exposure (more clipping)
- 3 shots, with each shot under exposed by one stop
I have chosen the object that had a lot of contrast in it. The soap with the roses in it is off white. It has many details and if the correct exposure is not chosen it can loose a lot of information in the details. The mesh and the bottle are providing good contrast.
I have imported the images into Lightroom and took the screen shots with highlight warning turned on.
Image 1 – I had taken this image when clipping started to affect the image.
(Exposure: 1/4 sec at f/8, Exposure Bias: 0EV, Mode: Manual, ISO: 100)
(Exposure: 1/3 sec at f/8, Exposure Bias: 0EV, Mode: Manual, ISO: 100)
Image 3: In this image the speed has been brought down.
There is still some amount of highlight clipping on the soap in the image 3 (above). Observe the enlarged version of the area. You can see how clippings can result into loss of details compare this with the image 4 below. During this shoot, I did not come across see any of the following problems.
One can see a distinguishing line between nearly white and total white areas
Color cast along the clipped white highlight
The color saturation
However, I have come across these problems in the past with other images.
Image 4: The highlight clipping is gone and the image has perfect exposure. See the enlarged version and notice the clarity of the details.
(Exposure: 1/6 sec at f/8, Exposure Bias: 0EV, Mode: Manual, ISO: 100)
Image 5: For my benefits, I had turned on the shadow clippings on. You can see by this stage the clipping had already started affecting the shadows.
(Exposure: 1/8 sec at f/8, Exposure Bias: 0EV, Mode: Manual, ISO: 100)
As these files were already present in LR, I went back to them and selected the image that had the maximum amount of highlight clippings. I started experimenting with the recovery slider. Just pulling the slider by 6 points, the entire clipping was gone. That means, more or less I had balanced the image. By pulling the slider to 55 points the details in the highlights, we getting clearer highlights, but some changes were happening to the shadows too. Now I was curious to see what will be the effects, if I pull the slider all the way to the end. I had recovered all the highlights but at the cost of the details of darker areas. I would also like to add here that shadows lost their sharpness and clarity.